Investigations start into Redcar and Cleveland floods

Skinningrove flooding
Image caption People in Skinningrove said flood defences should have been closed earlier

Torrential rain prevented engineers from shutting flood gates in an East Cleveland village hit by Friday's downpours, the Environment Agency said.

People in Skinningrove criticised delays in a flood defence system but Alan Cadas from the Environment Agency said road conditions were to blame.

A bridge at Mill Lane collapsed and the road could remain closed until October.

In Redcar, an investigation has started after a new multimillion-pound storage tank failed to protect homes.

The Skinningrove flood gates were eventually closed by volunteer flood wardens.

Mr Cadas said: "There was a really torrential downpour across the whole of the area and the contractors who were aiming to close the bridge struggled to get there through all the traffic and the floodwater."

'Too extreme'

Sheila Gilfoyle, the local postmistress, said the flood alarm system did not go off until she already had water in her shop.

The system for closing the bridge was "badly flawed", she said.

Families from Redcar whose homes were damaged are staying in hotels while repairs are carried out.

Coast and Country Housing said its staff had dealt with 1,400 calls over the weekend, ten times the volume it would normally expect.

Northumbrian Water said flooding in the St Joseph's Court area was "too extreme" for a storage tank system recently built to protect homes.

The company hopes an investigation will be completed within six weeks.

Elsewhere in Redcar, a number of birds at Kirkleatham Owl Centre died after water "gushed" into buildings.

In Skelton, a school forced to close due to flooding is due to reopen on Wednesday. Skelton Primary School suffered "significant" damage, Redcar and Cleveland Council said.

Volunteers in Saltburn helped clean up damage in the Valley Gardens.

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